Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Two Sides To Every Story

Erin Marie Olszewski is an Army combat veteran who served our country on the front lines in Iraq during Desert Storm.   Earlier this year, as a nurse, she traveled from her Florida home to work at Elmhurst Hospital in New York to work on the COVID unit.

Having worked in an ICU COVID unit in the Sunshine State, she was shocked to witness the discrepancies in the way patients in New York were treated as contrasted to those in Florida.  While it is true that at the time Florida did not have near the numbers of New York, she was devastated by the standard of care in the Big Apple.

There, in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Olszewski found patients who tested negative for COVID-19 were being put on COVID only floors, a surefire way to contract the disease.

Seeing this procedure, as well as noticing other healthcare failings such as lax sanitation measures, she decided to go undercover and record conversations with nurses and physicians.  When she began sharing on social media what she found, she was fired.  From her social media sharings, she then was the subject of a number of interviews and eventually a book deal was offered to her.

The criticism on speaking her truth since has been, to say the least, interesting.  People criticized Ms. Olszewski for videotaping her colleagues without their knowledge or consent and for speaking out on vaccine safety.  Others are applauding her for exposing what they feel is the truth and are grateful that she has brought to light these injustices.

I certainly don’t believe it’s proper to video patient’s medical records (even redacting personal information) as this is a flat-out violation of HIPAA.  However, it is sad that she is being crucified in the media for speaking her truth.  The reason nurses are so disempowered is because we are afraid to speak our own truth for exactly what is happening to Ms. Olszewski.

I will leave it up to your own decision on the truth and her findings however I will say that until nurses stick together and support each other, we will never have the power that we would like in our profession.

In addition, I would say that even if you don’t support Ms. Olszewski or believe the merits of what she says, then please be respectful and “agree to disagree” rather than cutting down someone for speaking their truth.  The civility of the nursing profession is in our hands.

2 Comments

  1. Linda Scheetz

    Did the Nurses have the same trauma training? Before videoing without consent, did she make an attempt to discuss the situation with staff and staff training? In the hospitals, morale is extremely important. So are proper training, supplies, and assisting each other as Nurses.

  2. Jenn

    Speaking your truth is a far cry from what this woman did. She outright accused a multitude of healthcare professionals of murdering patients. That is not speaking her “truth.” Those are serious allegations with a clear motivation to further her own agenda, and profit from the suffering of some of our most vulnerable communities. In her video she clearly lacked clinical competency in regards to disease progression, medications, and even simple medical knowledge that a nurse of her experience level should possess. She states at one point that a patients oxygen saturation was in the 80s, and goes on to say that everyone’s oxygen levels drop like that but we just dont realize it, and chalks it up to the patient having anxiety. This is so erroneously false and is just one small piece of evidence that she does not have the basic medical knowledge that even a new graduate nurse should have. She also clearly misses the point that in the beginning of this pandemic, physicians and other HCPs were functioning off of limited knowledge of a novel virus, and did the best they could with limited information. We have a duty as nurses to advocate for our patients, but what she did is not advocacy. She went to NY with a self serving agenda, wrote a book, and set up a GoFundMe page after making wild accusations of murder and apathy against hundreds of professionals who worked tirelessly at that hospital, doing the best they could do, to treat those patients. She violated federal laws, and nothing about what she did is empowering to our profession, or helpful in fixing a broken healthcare system. To claim that out of all of the hundreds, possibly thousands, of nurses, physicians, and other HCPs working at that hospital, she is the one and only person who actually cared about these patients and tried to help them, is a great illustration of the Super Nurse mentality, which should he a huge red flag to everyone who encounters the misinformation she is spreading. As nurses, agreeing to disagree with the actions and claims of this nurse, is unacceptable and we should he fighting to remove people like her from our profession, as all she has done is taint the public trust that we have strived to obtain and maintain for decades.

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